Emiratis hope UK visa issue will be addressed

02 May 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Emiratis are keen to see UK visas addressed in discussions during the President's state visit.

Reports from The National revealed that along with UK visas, health and education are top of the list of issues Emiratis are hoping to see discussed.

The visa issue revolves around the high level of trade and business done between the two nations. Around a million British tourists reportedly visit the Emirates each year and are issued with a visa for free upon arrival. However, those travelling the other way have to apply for and pay for a UK visa in advance of their departure.

The paper scouted out some views on the matter. Twenty-three-year-old Ahlam Al Hammadi, from Abu Dhabi, said that he believes that a lot of the discussion will revolve around "foreign policy, security, defence, business and probably most importantly about the visa issues we have".

Ms Al Hammadi, a student from Zayed University, added that she believes it "has to be easier for the Emiratis to visit the UK".

"Having more ease for Emiratis to visit the UK will help to develop better economies and better job opportunities for the British people," she added.

Other respondents noted that Britain is held in very high esteem in the Emirates and people are keen to visit and develop connections with the country for that reason. Ahmed Al Suwaidi, 20, who is currently studying for a master's in international relations also at Zayed, explained: "The nature of local perception the UK is it's heaven, it's the best world, it's the developed world."

He added that his family are aware of the history and the culture of the UK, while other people who spoke to the paper explained that they would like to see more done to strengthen and improve the already solid relationship that exists between the UAE and the UK.